Published: Jan 1996
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Despite a history of natural disasters, most preservationists in Charleston, South Carolina, discovered, as Hurricane Hugo approached, that they were without a cultural resource, disaster-preparedness plan. Each cultural organization in the city took basic protective measures prior to the storm's onslaught, but few were prepared for the magnitude of the outcome. Immediately afterward, preservationists organized an emergency stabilization task force at the request of the city. With a phone bank and a battery of volunteers, expert and amateur, a multilevel effort was commenced, consisting of architectural salvage, survey, technical information dissemination, contractor database, and recordation of damage. After months of recovery efforts, the final phase of recordation and survey led to the input of information and the development of a computer-automated graphics and database marriage program. The database has provided quick access to important information such as roofing and chimney failures and losses of building features. The Foundation's database offers the opportunity for future expansion. Its experience with Hugo has helped set forth new standards for damage recordation after a natural disaster.
disaster preparedness, damage survey, emergency stabilization, assessment, database program, building failures, disaster mitigation, preservation, rehabilitation, standards, building technology, buildings, evaluation
Director, Historic Charleston Foundation, Charleston, SC